U.S. Justice Department opens cybersecurity division
Responding to an increasingly vulnerable online world, the U.S. Justice Department is creating a unit within its criminal division dedicated to cybersecurity.
A number of factors have contributed to the decision. Recent hacks of retail giants like Target and Home Depot have compromised the personal and payment data of citizens all over the U.S. Revelations of spy programs from Edward Snowden and the growing concerns of technology behemoths like Twitter and Facebook about U.S. government data snooping have led to a growing mistrust in the government’s privacy protection policies. The lack of cooperation between citizens and government could hinder the latter’s effectiveness in investigating cybercrime.
“I have noticed a growing public distrust of law enforcement surveillance and high-tech investigative techniques,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. “This kind of mistrust can hamper investigations and cyber security efforts. Most of this mistrust, however, comes from misconceptions about the technical abilities of the law enforcement tools and the manners in which they are used.”
Caldwell said that the unit’s purpose is to take full advantage of law enforcement electronic surveillance tools while also protecting the privacy of Americans.
Sony Pictures hack scandal worsens
Two weeks ago it was revealed hackers had infiltrated Sony Pictures, the latest example in a growing number of corporate cyber invasions. The hackers crippled the company’s computer systems and could have stolen sensitive financial information, prompting employees to be sent home for the day.
The scandal deepened earlier this week when Sony employees received an email from the hacker with threats against their families. Part of the message read “if you don’t, not only you but your family will be in danger,” in response to the hacker’s calls for all employees to denounce the tech giant, according to Fortune. The FBI is involved and have launched an ongoing investigation.
Further problems arose when Sony Pictures pointed an accusing finger at North Korea. The country has since denied any role in the hacking, though it appeared to endorse it. A spokesman from the North Korea National Defense Commission, as quoted by North Korea’s Central News Agency, said that the attack “might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers” towards North Korea in its struggle to “put an end to U.S. imperialism.”
North Korea recently expressed its outrage at the Sony Pictures movie The Interview, a comedy involving a plot to assassinate North Korean President Kim Jong-un.
Another message from the hacking group known as Guardians of Peace, claimed that there was more hacking to come.
Antitrust lawsuit against Apple
A billion dollar antitrust lawsuit against tech giant Apple got underway this week. The company has been accused of using unfair tactics to protect its dominance in the music industry, specifically by preventing consumers from playing any music bought from store other than iTunes on their Apple devices.
The accusations date back to the early 2000s, when certain emails sent by Steve Jobs give evidence of the company’s transgressions, according to the Guardian. Several high-level executives from Apple are expected to testify in the Cupertino, California company’s defense as attorney’s try to prove that the company unfairly monopolized the industry and took advantage by selling iPods at inflated costs. A Stanford economist is set to testify, according to the Guardian, that Apple overcharged iPod buyers by up to $350 million.
In a positive turn of events for Apple, the lawsuit could be on the brink of collapse after the company’s lawyers pointed out that two of the plaintiffs may not have bought the models of iPod that the case is focused on, according to CityA.M. Apple will hope the new information will sway the judge to close the case in its favor.
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